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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Kirin K Wachter-Grene
ENGL 200
Seattle Campus

Reading Literary Forms

Covers techniques and practice in reading and enjoying literature in its various forms: poetry, drama, prose fiction, and film. Examines such features of literary meanings as imagery, characterization, narration, and patterning in sound and sense. Offered: AWSp.

Class description

This course examines the Black Arts/Aesthetic Movement of the late 1960s to mid 1970s. The BAM was made up of a diverse group of African-American artists, writers, and musicians committed to creating politically-charged, socially relevant art. They saw themselves as the cultural arm of Black Liberation struggles and other revolutionary movements influential at the time. We’ll engage literature in its various forms through the work of novelists, poets, playwrights, cultural critics, and musicians such as Malcolm X, Amiri Baraka, Henry Dumas, Gil Scott-Heron, Ed Bullins, Ishmael Reed, Ntozake Shange, Sonia Sanchez, Larry Neal, Nina Simone, Sun Ra, Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln and more. We will situate these artists within the political, historical, and cultural context of their time to consider, among other questions, what is the relationship between art and politics? We will also watch films including the 2011 documentary The Black Power Mixtape, and Jules Dassin's 1968 film Uptight.

Required Texts: Available at UW Bookstore (please purchase the required version of the text: Amiri Baraka Dutchman and The Slave 978-0688210847 Gil Scott Heron: The Vulture 978-1847678836 Sam Greenlee: The Spook Who Sat By the Door 978-0814322468 Ishmael Reed: The Last Days of Louisiana Red 978-1564782366 Ntozake Shange for colored girls who have considered suicide, when the rainbow is enuf 978-0553133073

Available at Ave Copy: Course Packet

Student learning goals

write effective close readings of literary texts

situate readings of course texts in historical, political, and cultural contexts

develop more sophisticated discussion and presentation skills

expand as critical thinkers and writers who can formulate substantive arguments and explore those arguments with evidence

foster a deeper appreciation of literature

General method of instruction

This will be a discussion-based class with an emphasis on generating complex interpretation backed by close reading.

Recommended preparation

While having taken a "C" course is not a prerequisite for this course, students that have done so may feel more confident with the writing assignments. **Please note that students are expected to keep up with the weekly reading and are expected to come to class prepared to discuss and engage with the texts**

Class assignments and grading

This class counts for "W" credit, and will require students to write two 5-7 page revisable papers. Students can also expect to write semi-formal reading responses and to participate in a group presentation.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Kirin K Wachter-Grene
Date: 01/24/2014